Hello everyone! My name is Peyton and I have been dealing with misophonia for about 2 years now. While I don’t know a lot about it, I do know how I have learned to cope with it. Here are my top 5 tips on how to survive Misophonia on a college campus!
#5: Choose Your Seating Wisely
It is very common to have a dining plan while in college, but this can be a struggle for those with misophonia. All of the sounds of pans clashing, people talking over each other and chewing food, slurping drinks and soups, basically a nightmare for anyone with sensory issues. This is why when I would go to the dining hall, I would either eat with one friend, eat where there aren’t as many people, or bring the food in a to-go box back to my dorm. Making these small changes can truly help someone who deals with misophonia and barely makes a difference to friends but can make a world of difference to you!
#4: Dealing with Snoring Roommates
Roommates are practically impossible to get away from in college, especially if you are living on campus. While living in a single is definitely an option, it is often too expensive, so you get stuck with a roommate. This can be a very easy fix. One way to avoid issues is to set your beds up in a way which your heads are as far away from each other as possible. Again, barely affects your roommate but can change the way you sleep entirely. Another option is to wear headphones at night. For those of you who are like me, music at night keeps you up because you like to sing along in your head. My fix for this is to listen to classical or jazz music, something that you can’t sing along to because there are no words! If this isn’t the right thing for you, ear plugs are always helpful, so check out my #1 tip for more on those!
#3: Car Rides with Friends
One of the repeat offenders for my misophonia is car rides. Having 4+ people in a car makes for tight seating, so make sure you always ask the driver if you can play music in the car. This helps so much, especially if one of your triggers is breathing. Another way to avoid being triggered is to ask if you can ride in the front seat. The probability of being triggered goes down as you guarantee that you’re only sitting next to one person.
#2: Furry Friends
Something that I have recently begun to deal with is having a pet in my bedroom. I have a guinea pig and he stays up all night chewing. Great, right? I will be bringing him to my off-campus apartment in the fall and I am still working out how to manage sleeping with him in the room. If you are triggered by heavy breathing or chewing, keeping a pet in college may not be the best idea unless you can keep it out of your room at night, which is not always a viable option when you have roommates. Other things you can try if you need a pet (I understand, I chose to keep a pet for comfort) are ear plugs or a white noise machine/fan. The latter may work if you have a big room or a quiet animal, but I have elected to use ear plugs as they block out more noise.
#1: Ear Plugs, Ear Plugs, Ear Plugs!
This #1 tip is surely already in your arsenal of coping techniques, but if you haven’t tried them yet, you are truly in for a treat. I carry ear plugs with me in my wallet so they are always with me. They can be used for every situation I have mentioned above and so many more. I was wary of using them at first, especially in front of friends, because I didn’t want them to think I was upset with them or that they were doing anything wrong, but I soon realized that they are supportive and don’t care if I have little green things in my ears to make me feel better. Right now, I am using Walgreens brand ear plugs of the highest decibel I could find, and while they are not perfect, they are good place holders while I save up to get better ones online. Amazon has an amazing selection of ear plugs and I would totally recommend checking them out if you’re interested!
So that’s it for me right now. I hope this helped you young people out there. Misophonia is hard to deal with when it seems like you just can’t get away from triggers, and college is one of the places that keeps you busy with people constantly. I hope you can use these tips to cope with your misophonia and that you can become confident in your ability to fight this roadbump of life!Want to learn more? Join a Workshop with Dr. Jennifer Brout or Duke CMER at Misophonia Education.